RGC woman denied in ammo smuggling case

McALLEN — Bond has been denied for a Rio Grande City woman accused of organizing the movement of ammunition into Mexico.

U.S. Magistrate Peter E. Ormsby denied bond for Edna Yaritza Zamarripa, who is accused, along with her mother and a third woman, of conspiring to export more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition from the U.S. into Mexico.

The 25-year-old woman — who along with her mother, Consuelo Teresita Ramirez Zamarripa, 48, was arrested Aug. 15 — stood before Ormsby Thursday afternoon for a hearing related to a request for bond.

Despite her attorney, Rio Grande City-based Gilberto Falcon Jr.’s best efforts, the court denied the motion for bond.

Falcon said his client’s stepfather’s mother was willing to put up her home as collateral for the bond.

Despite the denial, the court remained open for another hearing regarding the bond should circumstances change.

Zamarripa is accused of recruiting Sonia Sussette Lucio, 22, also of Rio Grande City, to help her export ammo from the United States into Mexico.

Zamarripa’s alleged criminal activity came to federal agents’ attention last year when Lucio was arrested attempting to export more than 2,000 rounds of ammo into Mexico through the Rio Grande City port of entry.

On Sept. 5, 2017, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations agents were conducting surveillance on Lucio and Consuelo Zamarripa, who were purchasing “a significant amount of ammunition” at a sporting goods store in Edinburg, according to the complaint.

“HSI agents observed Lucio and Consuelo Zamarripa load the ammunition into a black Chrysler 300 and observed them depart from the sporting goods store to Consuelo Zamarripa’s residence in Rio Grande City, Texas,” the complaint states.

After dropping off Consuelo, Lucio left the residence and headed toward the Rio Grande City port of entry.

HSI agents contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working the port and advised them Lucio’s vehicle was loaded with ammunition, the complaint states.

CBP officers inspected Lucio’s vehicle and found the 2,000 rounds of ammunition hidden within a speakerbox in the back of the vehicle.

During an interview with federal agents, Lucio admitted to her role in the movement of ammo, and implicated Edna Zamarripa as the person who recruited her in the scheme.

Nine months later, in June of this year, HSI agents interviewed Edna and Consuelo Zamarripa at their Rio Grande City residence.

During the interview, Edna admitted to moving ammunition into Mexico on past instances, and at least on one occasion, she told agents she procured a semi-automatic firearm for a person in Mexico, the complaint states.

“Edna Zamarripa admitted to recruiting Lucio to procure and illegally export ammunition from the United States into Mexico,” the court record shows.

Lucio, who pleaded guilty to the charge against her in November of last year, remains free on a $30,000 bond and is expected before a federal judge for sentencing Oct. 9, court notes show.

Consuelo Ramirez Zamarripa remains free after she was granted a bond during a hearing last Friday, court records show.

All three women are legal United States citizens, court records show.